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Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Review: Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi

by Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by Bahni Turpin

Thanks so much to Knopf Books & PRHAudio for these gifted books.

Publisher: PRHAudio
Publish Date: February 15, 2022
7 hrs 12 min
Companion: Pet #0.5
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Queer

After a childhood in foster care, Bitter is thrilled to have been chosen to attend Eucalyptus, a special school where she can focus on her painting surrounded by other creative teens. But outside this haven, the streets are filled with protests against the deep injustices that grip the city of Lucille.

Bitter's instinct is to stay safe within the walls of Eucalyptus . . . but her friends aren't willing to settle for a world that's so far away from what they deserve. Pulled between old friendships, her artistic passion, and a new romance, Bitter isn't sure where she belongs--in the studio or in the streets. And if she does find a way to help the revolution while being true to who she is, she must also ask: at what cost?

This timely and riveting novel--a companion to the National Book Award finalist Pet--explores the power of youth, protest, and art.

My Review:

I'm fast becoming a HUGE fan of Akwaeke Emezi.  They know how to write and their story of PET, which I read and ADORED, was one of my favorites last year.  Lo and behold, there's a companion novel about Jam's mother, Bitter?! **GRABBY HANDS**

This is basically a prequel to PET, where we get to learn how the world we meet in PET comes about.  And I did so lovingly love learning more about Bitter.  Emezi does a fantastic job throwing in some levity while tackling some serious subjects.  Not only do we talk about the expected art within the book, but what it stands for in activism, different types of protests and my favorite part - SELF CARE and taking care of mental health.  There are many different ways to contribute and many different ways to help others.  Just make sure you're taking care of yourself within the process!!

This can absolutely be read as a standalone and if you haven't read PET yet, I'd probably encourage you to read this first, BUT it's not necessary.  And for those who have read PET already, definitely pick this up as well.  Note that it has a very different feel and atmosphere as it tackles different themes.  While we get Bitter as a young adult, this reads more "adult" than its companion.

Shout out to the narrator who did an amazing job with the audiobook.  Shout out to Akwaeke for bringing us another wonderful story. 


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